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Old 10-24-10, 07:06 PM   #1
skullmunky
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Angry Is every laptop with optimus unusable?

I'm a longtime nvidia-on-linux user, going on about 10 years now. Imagine my dismay when I hear about this Optimus disaster, just when I'm trying to buy a new laptop. Tell me if this is the correct bottom line:

On any laptop that has an Nvidia card with Optimus, Linux will be unable to use the Nvidia card and will only have access to the integrated intel graphics.

and therefore:

Since optimus is now so widespread that manufacturers may not always advertise it as a feature, the only safe choice for a Linux user is to avoid Nvidia on laptops completely.

please tell me it's not that black and white, it's too depressing. My only option seems to be to pay an extra $1000 premium for a Macbook Pro which has switchable graphics but at least in a way where Linux can use the nvidia.
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Old 10-25-10, 01:15 AM   #2
hgkabde
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Default Re: Is every laptop with optimus unusable?

You have another option too. By a notebook with ati/amd graphics.
I use a lenovo ideapad with integrated Radeon Mobile 4300 in combination
with Catalyst 10.9 and since one hour with 10.10.
It is the perfect choice for me.

My Nvidia GTS250 was the last Nvidia card for my Desktop, because
the drivers are very buggy. OC didn't work now for the last 3 revisions with the 260
series. With 256 drivers the plasma desktop works not good. When i change a movie
to full screen the picture stand for seconds and sometimes it crash the complete Xserver.
Questions to this problems wouldn't answered, see thread http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=156164


Cu
Hans
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Old 10-25-10, 03:46 AM   #3
artem
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Default Re: Is every laptop with optimus unusable?

"Optimus is not supported in Linux, not it'll be supported in the future." Treat these words as the official NVIDIA statement.

Optimus is protected by patents, it has NVIDIA's IP, so unless you convince Jen-Hsun Huang to change his mind and stance towards openness, we are out of luck.
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Old 10-25-10, 05:43 AM   #4
mtron
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Default Re: Is every laptop with optimus unusable?

Quote:
On any laptop that has an Nvidia card with Optimus, Linux will be unable to use the Nvidia card and will only have access to the integrated intel graphics.
Nope

I own a Asus EeePc 1015PN that comes also with a "Optimus" Intel / Nvidia (Gt218) combo.

In windows i can switch between a Performance mode (means that only the Nvidia chip is used) and the Optimus mode (Primary use Intel GMA, only switch to nvidia if needed).

In Linux the laptop uses the nvidia chip exclusively and works ok with the current stable nvidia binary driver. (incl. vdpau)
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Old 10-27-10, 10:03 AM   #5
skullmunky
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Default Re: Is every laptop with optimus unusable?

So some laptops will default to the discrete card, but I imagine that depends on the mb and bios ..? Is there any way to find out ahead of time before purchasing or is it just the luck of the draw?

Sounds like ATI is now the way to go.
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Old 10-27-10, 05:56 PM   #6
mlord
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Default Re: Is every laptop with optimus unusable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtron View Post
I own a Asus EeePc 1015PN that comes also with a "Optimus" Intel / Nvidia (Gt218) combo
...
In Linux the laptop uses the nvidia chip exclusively and works ok with the current stable nvidia binary driver. (incl. vdpau)
Mmm.. looks good. How's battery life on the Linux desktop, with simple email and web browsing type of activity?

thanks
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Old 10-28-10, 07:38 AM   #7
mtron
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Default Re: Is every laptop with optimus unusable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlord View Post
How's battery life on the Linux desktop
Well, i don't use a full blown gnome/kde with all the daemons ect. All i have is a ubuntu minimal install with floxbox wm, chromium for browsing, xbmc as vdr streaming client (works great on this netbook with vdpau for h264 & mpg2) and some custom tweaks.

At "powersave mode" (lower cpu speed & customized fancontrol script) i get around 4 -4,5 hours.

Asus claims 10 hours for Win7 in powersave mode with intel gpu only (i can't confirm this though. never used the win7 install for longer than 5 min), so if this is true there is still loads of potential for optimization...

Also it might be worth having a look at meego (great netbook desktop) as soon as it supports nvidia binary drivers. I tested the opensuse spin-off "smeegol" which already supports them (=latest Opensuse with meego desktop) but power consumption is worse than my ubuntu install.

@ skullmunky: i prepared myself a live-usb stick with nvidia binary drivers already integrated and just tested at the store which model can use this combo out of the box. My tests showed that most of the Optimus laptops with "next-gen Ion" or "Ion2" worked. I took the 1015PN because the price is still reasonable (got it for 350€) and all hardware works out of the box. (except wlan which requires also a binary blob)
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Old 10-28-10, 12:16 PM   #8
Civilus
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Default Re: Is every laptop with optimus unusable?

skullmunky
It's not fully correct. There are laptops (ASUS UL30Jt for example) where you can disable intel's integrated card from BIOS.

With ACPI Call or by modifying of DSDT you can disable nvidia's card when intel's one enabled. So you can switch (in BIOS) between Intel and nVidia.

But anyway, optimus itself doesn't work on Linux.
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Old 10-28-10, 06:13 PM   #9
artem
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Default Re: Is every laptop with optimus unusable?

The most important Optimus feature is that you can physically on-the-fly enable and disable NVIDIA GPU when the GPU is really required.

Switching GPUs via reboot/BIOS settings is not that interesting.
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Old 11-29-10, 06:23 AM   #10
Jupp3
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Default Re: Is every laptop with optimus unusable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by artem View Post
The most important Optimus feature is that you can physically on-the-fly enable and disable NVIDIA GPU when the GPU is really required.

Switching GPUs via reboot/BIOS settings is not that interesting.
I disagree. The most important feature is to let users use the nvidia gpu in the first place. Switching between them is less important (and of course depends on the first one)

Currently, neither works on some systems.
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Old 11-29-10, 12:41 PM   #11
dk75
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Default Re: Is every laptop with optimus unusable?

1015P is a bad example of ION2 unit because it is easily switchable by BIOS and works with discrete as a default (Windows switch it to Optimus itself)

But it is only new unit that I know about it.
Sister unit, 1215P is not that nice.
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Old 12-09-10, 01:59 PM   #12
ch3rryc0ke
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Default Re: Is every laptop with optimus unusable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dk75 View Post
1015P is a bad example of ION2 unit because it is easily switchable by BIOS and works with discrete as a default (Windows switch it to Optimus itself)

But it is only new unit that I know about it.
Sister unit, 1215P is not that nice.
Has anyone been able to get the ION2 video card working on the 1215N with Ubuntu? I can only get Intel working, which is fine, but I would really like to use the HDMI out to connect to an external display.

Also, do you have a reference for the ACPI calls to make to disable ION2 if there's no way to get it working? Do I need to install a driver to do that?

Thanks.
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